…because some thoughts are worth remembering
A little exposure to the world can enrich our perspectives, but like little knowledge, it can be a dangerous thing.
When I travelled with my mother to Canada to be interviewed for a boarding school when I was young, we ate at a Spaghetti Factory, a family friendly pasta chain known for its decor. We didn’t know it was a chain, only that it specialized in pasta, given the name.
When we got seated, I started translating the menu to her, and explained the concept of free refills for her coffee. There was no such concept back then in Japan, and my mother was perplexed how people managed to keep the ratio of their coffee to their sugar and cream as the waiters topped off their coffee cups so casually hopping from one table to another with a big glass pot.
Before we even placed the order, the waiter arrived with a big loaf of bread with ceramic pots of butter. “But we didn’t order this,” she said. “It’s too much. How can we possibly finish this?” A few moments later she caught a glimpse of a couple across the hall finishing off their loaf, as the waiter arrived with the second loaf. “See, free refills” I said, further explaining the concept, to which my mother gasped said thoughtfully, “This is why we lost the war.”
Apparently the Japanese soldiers did not carb up enough with a bottomless supply of caffeine.
Photo: A bowl of cioppino at Eliiot’s in Seattle, Washington, whose volume was massive enough to be considered bottomless.